Israel is bursting with fascinating tourist sites, but there are a number of places in particular that are a “must see” for visitors from abroad. The Dead Sea is one of them. The Dead Sea is not just your average beachside vacation – it’s a complete world of attractions and leisure sites throughout the entire local desert region. If you are heading to the Dead Sea for a vacation, here are a few things you should know before getting on the plane.
Where to stay? The shoreline of the Dead Sea extends approximately 50km, but the best hotel strip is located in the Ein Bokek region. Here you will find the hotel & hospitality area that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. The area includes various types of accommodation, from 3 stars to 6 stars, and a variable price range. In nearly every hotel, you can enjoy a full health club and spa that offers natural thermal & mineral body treatments. Just check Booking to find the best option for your trip.
Fabulous hotels – and much more. The major tour groups tend to stay at the popular Dead Sea hotels, but for independent travelers, there are many suitable alternative accommodation options, such as hostels, guest houses and cottage style units at local kibbutzes. Prices tend to be cheaper, and you mostly won’t have access to an on-site spa or health club – but you will certainly experience amazing sunrises and sunsets alongside local flora and fauna, which is just as enjoyable. Starting price per night is approximately 250-300 NIS per person.
When is the best time to visit? The Dead Sea tourist region is open all year round, and it may be difficult at times to find an available room in the main hotel area. During the summer months, many Israelis come with their families to the region for their annual summer vacation, and in the winter, large tourist groups flock to the area for the healing benefits of the Dead Sea, the warm winter sun and desert air. The best deals are usually during March-April and November-December. Weather is excellent and service in the hotels is better as they are less crowded.
What is the best way to book a Dead Sea vacation? In Israel, foreign tourists don’t pay VAT for holiday accommodation, so you can find better deals on the major booking websites like booking.com, rather than via the hotel websites. Competition between the major travel booking websites is significant, so you can often catch good deals, particularly in the high season. It is important to know that groups or families can get better prices than independent travelers. Individual travelers are advised to book the flight to Israel separately from accommodation.
What to pack in your suitcase? Most importantly, a swimsuit and sun cream. The Dead Sea region is fertile ground for desert hikes, and extreme activities can be found in abundance. But for those who want a true beach holiday, with swimming and sun tanning, you can do this on the various Dead Sea beaches, or even at the pool or spa.
Where can we go to have a good time? The Dead Sea region is packed with tourist attractions for every age group, and you can find just about any kind of activity that interests you. Just beyond the hotel doors, you can go on a night jeep tour to see the native wildlife, and enjoy an authentic local dinner in the midfdle of the desert. History buffs are invited to visit Masada, the royal fortress of King Herod, which stands atop a cliff with views over the Judean desert. Parachuting above the desert, spring baths and spa pools and even sailing on the Dead Sea are waiting for those with an adventurous spirit.
What to do with the kids? Swimming and floating in the Dead Sea is not recommended for small children, due to the highly concentrated saltwater that can get in the eyes. But that doesn’t mean you’ll hear the words “Mom, I’m bored.” Free floating on the salt water is a major local attraction, and for older children and teenagers, it’s an experience not to be missed. For kids of all ages, the local tradition of spreading Dead Sea mud over the whole body is a suitable and fun activity. Some beaches offer ball games and other activities for kids that give parents a welcome break to enjoy the tranquil desert atmosphere. Also, the hotels provide special activities for kids at the swimming pool, as well as play areas, Gymboree and games rooms.
Shopping in the desert. No one wants to go home empty handed, and the Dead Sea region boasts more than a few shopping opportunities in the unique spirit of the desert. Some are located along the Dead Sea shores, close to gas stations and roadside stops, and others are available near the hotels in Ein Bokek. Clothes, food, souvenirs and locally designed jewelry – all these you can find at very attractive prices. But the specialty is the locally produced body care and cosmetics products, containing the skin care benefits of Dead Sea minerals, salt and mud. For those who really want city-style shopping, it is recommended to make the trip to Jerusalem and to experience the famous Holy City for yourself.
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